Controversy, disagreement, and passionate differences of opinions surround the topic of homosexuality. Some believe it is a choice; others believe it is a naturally-born reality that some people must face, even in the most violent of adversity.
On June 20, 2013, Lisa Ling, a highly-respected television reporter, presented a piece on OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network) called, “Special Report: God and Gays”. Part of it was a follow-up to an earlier report Ling had made titled, “Pray the Gay Away?”.
Part of Thursday’s news story involved some of the “Pray the Gay Away?” advocates who now consider themselves victims of the mentality of the Exodus International group who sponsors programs attempting to re-program people who are gay into people who are attracted to the opposite sex and want to pursue relationships with members of the opposite sex. These people who have finally accepted themselves as homosexual individuals are resentful of the message that Exodus tries to send to those who consider themselves attracted to people of the same sex.
The ironic piece of this TV article, “Gods and Gays” reported by Lisa Ling is an extremely insightful piece, considering that the original Founder of the “Pray the Gay Away?” movement has finally accepted himself for who he is: A gay man who wants a relationship with another man who is gay. He understands that all people are born with certain characteristics, and this is one of his that has nothing to do with our Lord or religion. It is simply a reality of his life.
More importantly, on the June 20, 2013, episode of Lisa Ling’s “Our America”, she delves into the thoughts and opinions of every side of the issue. On that same day, the current leader of Exodus International, “apologized to the gay community for inflicting ‘years of undue suffering.’ He plans to close the organization while launching a new effort to promote reconciliation (“Christian Group…” 1).
Why is the highest rate of teenage suicides teens who are struggling with gender issues? How does it help for a major religious group to send a message that what a child/teen feels is right for them is absolutely against the word of God? (Anyone can take Scripture out of context and use it to promote their own beliefs….)
Exodus International’s leader, Alan Chambers described his organization as having waged a ‘culture war’ for religion and deeply regrets any of the pain his organization may have caused. He is attempting to refocus the group not on ostracizing people who are gay but instead building bridges between all people. He intends to call the revised group reducefear.org (“Christian Group…” 1).
Not all members of Exodus International agree with this decision, and they are, “disenchanted by Chambers’ evolution…. [They have] formed a new group called the Restored Hope Network, which calls itself an ‘ex-gay ministry’ and continues to promote the idea that gays can be converted to heterosexuality.
However, the majority of the members of the former Exodus International are now working to try and repair some of the hurt and pain that they caused over the last 27 years. Sharon Groves, the director of the Human Rights Campaign’s religion and faith program, lauds Chambers’ efforts and states, “’Now we need them to take the next step of leadership and persuade all other religious-based institutions that they got it wrong’” (“Christian Group…” 2).
The Associated Press. “Christian Group Exodus International Apologizes to Gay Community, Shuts Down.” The Kansas City Star. June 20, 2013.